US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said Washington will ease restrictions on investment to Myanmar and move towards naming an ambassador there.
She said this would be a sign of better relations between one of the most secretive states in the world and Western powers.
Her comments came after Myanmar president Thein Sein held weekend by-elections that will see opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi — who has spent years under house arrest and has become an international figure of democracy — entering parliament for the first time.
Hilary Clinton said the US would also make it easier for Myanmar officials to visit the USA, but would not yet ease the bulk of sanctions.
Quoted in Al Jazeera, Mrs Clinton said, ‘The US will stand with the reformers and democrats both inside the government and in the larger civil society as they work together for that more hopeful future that is the right of every single person’.
She added: ‘Sanctions and prohibitions will stay in place on individuals and institutions that remain on the wrong side of these historic reform efforts’.
However, Aung Din, a former political prisoner and executive director of the US Campaign for Burma advocacy group, said Myanmar’s leaders had won ‘enormous’ rewards, even though Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy would hold just a tiny number of seats in the military-dominated parliament.